It’s pretty common for students to work in restaurants and bars during college. I’ve definitely put in my time as a waitress and cocktail server, working late nights, and hoping for decent tips to get me through another semester. But the professional bartenders and servers with Crystal Lake Catering Company are a whole ‘nother breed. Most of these folks have a different outlook on their jobs, and it shows in their work performance.

First of all, CLCC bartenders are certified in alcohol service management through the TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) program, offered through the Professional Bartending Schools of America, Inc. This means they have the confidence and skills to diffuse any trouble that may be alcohol-related at events.

These bartenders also have a unique pride in working for Crystal Lake Catering because they typically are serving drinks that are grown, produced, and packaged right here in Northern Michigan. This includes hand-crafted beer from breweries such as Stormcloud Brewing Company, Frankfort; Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City; and Short’s Brewing Company, Bellaire. There are extensive wineries throughout the region, too numerous to mention, but some of my favorites include Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay; Left Foot Charley, Traverse City; and Chateau Fontaine, Lake Leelanau. A new, and delicious option, comes from meaderies—namely St. Ambrose Cellars, Beulah (oh, that tangy, crisp ginger mead is perfect for a hot day), and Acoustic Brewing Company, Lake Ann. Not to be overlooked is an organic, hard cider from Northern Naturals Winery & Cidery, situated in Traverse City.

All of these beers, wines, meads, and ciders are just a hint of the rich, diverse offerings from our special corner of Northern Michigan! One of the bartenders I spoke with mentioned how he loves to recommend not only the great, local wines, but that it’s great to be able to recommend how they pair so well with the fresh whitefish entree offered on the Crystal Lake Catering menu. He said, “It ties in with sharing our Up North lifestyle with the folks that come here. It’s just an allover great feeling to serve these guests!”

Perhaps these local products make the job of the bartenders, and servers, more, dare I say, “spirited?” They have more to offer, they have pride in their region, their community of folks who are creating these amazing products, and the distinct opportunity to share this wilth people who happen to be in an especially celebratory mood! Sounds a lot more fun than hunkering in a smelly back barroom counting my meager tips. The next time you have an opportunity to hire professional help for an event, I’d suggest checking out Crystal Lake Catering Company’s certified bartenders, for a truly eclectic experience. Cheers!